Weight Loss Wednesday: Making the Switch to Maintenance
So you worked hard, lost the weight and rocked your summer body for a full three months. Now, what do you do to maintain the loss? Therein lies the challenge. Statistics show that only about 20% of people are successful at maintaining 10% of their initial weight loss for greater than one year. So how do ensure long-lasting success? A recent study conducted by the William S. Middleton Veterans memorial Hospital in Madison, WI seems to suggest that continued focus and care play the biggest role. During their study, they followed men and women who had recently been successful in their weight loss effort for 42 weeks. Each participant was assigned to either an intervention group that provided support and additional weight management strategies or one that provided only routine medical care with no emphasis on weight maintenance.
The participants in the intervention group participated in group meetings and telephone calls, in which they were taught additional weight maintenance strategies such as calorie budgeting and how to plan around potentially difficult scenarios, such as special events and holidays. All participants were assessed at regular intervals throughout the study for weight gain. Following the study it was found that the intervention group had gained significantly less weight than the control group.
Researchers stated that although obesity is now recognized as a chronic disease, it is often not treated as such in a clinical setting. These results seem to suggest that just like other familiar chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, obesity may require continuous, lifetime intervention in order to see results.
What does this mean for you? It means that once you reach the maintenance stage, you shouldn't discontinue good habits like recording food intake, keeping track of progress via weight and girth measurements, and that continued support and awareness is key. With these tools and the help of a healthy support system, the weight that you lost is more likely to stay gone, just where you'd like it to.